MARTIN, Tenn. – Gordon Sanders, head cross country coach at The University of Tennessee at Martin, has announced seven new members have committed to run for the Skyhawks next season.
All seven of the new Skyhawk runners hail from the state of Tennessee. With the new additions, Sanders adds four females and three males to the roster.
Joining the UT Martin women’s squad this fall will be Kaycee Grimes (pictured), Alexandra Stover, Kathryn Skaggs and Abby Frantom.
Grimes was a regional champion or runner-up five times while competing at Rossview High School in Clarksville. She also was a four-time state cross country qualifier and a three-time state track qualifier, including a third-place finish with the Hawks’ 4x800 relay team.
“Kaycee is the most decorated student-athlete to join the team this year,” Sanders said. “She has accomplished all kinds of accolades while playing two sports in one season. Her focus to just distance running this summer will pay off in the fall.”
While competing at White County High School in Sparta, Stover helped lead the Warriors to their first-ever appearance at the state championships in 2011. She generated several top-10 finishes at sectionals and was a multiple state cross country qualifier, including a 3200 meter finalist berth as a junior.
“Alex is one of White County High School’s most decorated female distance runners,” Sanders said. “She will have an immediate impact as a scorer here.”
Skaggs is coming off a strong season at Farragut High School in Knoxville, where she set personal bests in all distances to go along with a top-10 sectional finish. Overall, she compiled top-15 sectional and regional finishes during her senior campaign for the Admirals.
“Kathryn was recommended by a former UT Martin cross country alumnus,” Sanders said. “Her sub-12 minute 3200 meter time bodes well for this fall’s cross country season.”
A relative newcomer to the sport, Frantom joins the Skyhawks out of Morristown-Hamblen High School West. After playing soccer for 10 years, she switched to cross country – where she helped lead the Trojans to a top-10 finish in the state meet.
“Abby is new to the sport, but was selected team captain her first two years with her new team,” Sanders said. “Her terrific attitude will mesh well with her new teammates.”
On the men’s side, Justin Morgan, Zach Phifer and Mark Graubner will suit up for the Skyhawks in 2012-13.
Morgan was a big part of Cookeville High School’s success the past four seasons. He was a three-time state cross country qualifier for the Cavaliers, reaching significant personal bests in all of the distance events last fall.
“This outstanding student improved his last two regional finishes from 11th to fourth,” Sanders said. “Even with the four seniors on our team, Justin will be pushing his teammates for consistent scoring slots.”
A Tennessee Scholar in the classroom, Phifer was a multi-sport star at Big Sandy High School. He was a four-time state cross country qualifier for the Red Devils’ cross country squad.
“With several academic accolades and more, Zach still fit in time to be a multi-sport team captain,” Sanders said. “His unending efforts to excel will help him deal with the new workloads college requires.”
Graubner was a top student and an Eagle Scout while running for Sovereign Grace Storm cross country team in Brentwood. He set a new season-best time at the Brentwood Academy dual meet on April 16, finishing first in the 1600 meter event.
“Mark has been consistent in his track races,” Sanders said. “We just need to build him up aerobically to extend those paces to college track distances.”
The Skyhawks open their 2012 cross country season on Sept. 1 at the Memphis Twilight Classic.